It wasn’t just another Thursday morning on the back side at Del Mar, as Queen Zenyatta was on the grounds after being shipped down from Hollywood Park yesterday.
A gathering of "paparazzi" that included fans, press, and horseman gathered around trainer John Shireffs’ barn to watch last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner as she prepares for Saturday’s Grade 1 $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch.
She will be looking to win the Hirsch for the third consecutive year, while improving her lifetime record to a perfect 18-for-18.
Zenyatta will also be schooling in the paddock before today’s fourth race.
Yesterday’s Pick 4 paid over $4,500 and we have 26 more chances to nail a big one. Let’s hope today’s our lucky day.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1 – Race 5 (5,6,7) – Bottom level older females sprint six furlongs and there is a ton of early speed signed up. We’ll go with the best of that speed and two closers.
No. 6 Light of a Star was last seen winning at Los Alamitos, and that doesn’t usually equal success on this circuit, however she did win at Santa Anita earlier this year and has won 10-of-20 lifetime starts. She could be the speed of the speed and she has also shown the ability to win from just off the pace. Jockey Ramon Guce and trainer Charles Treece win a lot of races at Los Al.
No. 5 Rev Her Up is a stone cold closer and this race could fall apart in front of her. She finished second in her last race at Hollywood Park to a pair of next out winners.
No. 7 First Queen is also a dead closer and she finished second in two of her last three races at Hollywood Park.
Leg 2 – Race 6 (7,8,9) – Two-year-old $32K maiden claiming colts spring five and a half furlongs in what should prove to be a slowly run race.
No. 7 Hector had a pair of solid second place finishes to start his career, but something obviously went amiss when he stepped up in class last time. Dropping back down gives him a shot to win here.
No. 8 Big Son of a Gun will be the only first-time starter used based off of two solid gate drills over this track. His sire wins at an average 9% clip first time out, but trainer Tim Yakteen could score again today after winning yesterday’s Graduation with Bench Points.
No. 9 Not in This Life has finished second in both career starts, including last time to Joy Boy, who ran well in the aforementioned Graduation. He gets the services of Rafael Bejarano and has two morning spins over the track.
Leg 3 - Race 7 (5,6,8) – A tough optional claiming five furlong sprint on the turf is today’s featured race. All eight horses entered have done their best while racing near the front end so it’s difficult to decipher any pace advantage here.
No. 5 Mallinson Road was bet like a good thing in his U.S. debut last time at Hollywood Park, but ran a lackluster sixth. He was an extremely consistent perform last year in New Zealand, including a second place finish in a Grade 2 race, so we’ll give him one more chance with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer adding blinkers.
No. 6 Quick Enough moves to the barn of Mike Mitchell after a gritty score here ten days ago on the main track off over a year long layoff. He has finished in the money in 9-of-11 lifetime starts and has run equally well on turf.
No. 8 Bradium is the up and comer of the bunch after breaking his maiden against a good bunch before running a solid second in an allowance race last time. He has trained well during his brief freshening.
Leg 4 – Race 8 (1,3,6,9) – This race has the identical conditions of Race 6, but the talent level seems to be a bit higher.
No. 1 Certainly Certain is the logical favorite after just missing by a nose here on Opening Day.
No. 3 Elessar gets a big barn upgrade and drops in class off a decent debut effort at Golden Gate.
No. 6 Gibson Home Run comes from a prolific debut sire for good win early connections and could be long gone.
No. 9 B.J.’s Hope finished in fourth behind Certainly Certain last time after breaking from the far outside and going five-wide turning for home.
Recap – (5,6,7) w (7,8,9) w (5,6,8) w (1,3,6,9) – Total cost of ticket = $54
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches.
Yesterday’s Result – (-$60)
Total for meet – (-$331.15)